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Involved in a Taxi Accident? Taxi Color May Be Important to a Case

Written by Ankin Law Office

Choosing a yellow taxicab could mean avoiding a car accident. A newly released study demonstrates that yellow taxicabs experience 9% fewer accidents than blue ones because yellow is more visible to other drivers. Distracted drivers particularly benefit from brightly colored taxis because this improved visibility gives more reaction time to avoid a crash.

Chicago licenses about 7,000 cabs. If the City required all taxis to be painted yellow, taxicab accidents in Chicago could be reduced by about 43 crashes per month. If everyone who got into a crash with a taxi consulted a car accident attorney in Chicago, that reduction equates to about one or two fewer visits per day.

Unlocking Transportation Data

The Illinois Department of transportation tracks taxi accidents. Recent data provided by IDOT shows that in one calendar year there were 830 injuries out of 4,129 accidents. Three people died from those crashes. A way to reduce some of the financial and human costs of these accidents is to understand and act on individual implications behind data.

Yellow Draws Attention

In 1907 the Chicago Cab Company chose to paint their taxicabs yellow after learning about a survey conducted by the University of Chicago. It showed that yellow is much more visible than other colors. Especially early in the 20th century when all cars were painted black, yellow taxis stood out to potential passengers. Now, one hundred years later, a new study confirms something many already intuitively suspected: other drivers also more quickly spot a yellow taxicab. It’s simple. Awareness of other vehicles helps drivers avoid accidents – and appointments with a car accident attorney Chicago.

Taxi Accident Variables

There are a variety of factors that contribute to taxi accident rates. A car accident attorney Chicago might consider some of these when preparing a case.

  • Drivers who are new to an area and are inexperienced will be more prone to driver performance and driver judgment errors. Driver performance errors include making improper turns, failing to signal, etc. Driver judgment errors include momentary lapses in judgment such as driving too fast for conditions. These errors can often be traced back to the driver being agitated. Agitated drivers have an increased chance of a car accident by hundreds of times that of other drivers.
  • Differences in driver demography and behavior, as well as other physical vehicle variables, can increase the probability of a crash.
  • Travel in yellow taxis at night is 4.5 times safer than riding in blue ones under the same conditions. That’s because the contrasting yellow against a dark background lit by street lights above provide better visibility.
  • Drivers who appear visibly upset, angry, sad, crying, or otherwise emotionally agitated increase the chance of a crash by almost 10 times.
  • Drivers distracted by touchscreen devices are about half as likely to crash than someone who’s driving aggressively. Using handheld phones have an accident risk less than those of drivers distracted by touchscreen devices.


Attorney Marc M. Jacobs was a passenger in a Chicago Yellow Cab Affiliation, Inc. (YTA) vehicle on August 31, 2005, when it was involved in a serious car accident. The taxicab driver was Cornelius C. Ezeagu, who had only four months prior received his chauffeur license. Ezeagu was unfamiliar with the address he was to take Jacobs to, so Jacobs said he would direct the driver as they went. Jacobs became engaged on the phone and Ezeagu was about to miss the freeway exit. Jacobs’ noticed and suddenly screamed, “Get off here.” Eyewitness Ruben Arce, who was traveling in a box truck behind the taxi, testified the yellow taxi suddenly swerved in front of the box truck without signaling, cutting them off while attempting to make the exit.

The truck managed to avoid being involved in the subsequent accident because their attention was captured by the yellow taxi. They were then able to perform an evasive maneuver.

Unfortunately, the combination of taxi driver inexperience and unfamiliarity with the destination was life altering and costly to the taxi occupants. Jacobs suffered brain damage and a Cook County Jury awarded the Jacobs family almost $26M. YTA filed for bankruptcy protection directly after the verdict.

Financial, Physical and Emotional Damage

A car accident can cause loss of well-being, money, and life. Frequently a car accident attorney in Chicago is faced with seeing first-hand the pain and suffering of clients who are affected by a single crash. So, the visibility of a vehicle is important, especially when other drivers are distracted, inexperienced or aggressive. Overall, yellow taxis experience an average of about six fewer accidents per one thousand, per month. That’s 9% fewer yellow taxi accidents that can rightly be attributed to color alone. A seasoned car accident attorney Chicago has experience regarding this and other ways certain factors can influence fault when there is a crash.

Categories: Auto Accidents